Policy against Scientific Misconduct
JoTT supports ethics in scientific studies and scientific writing. JoTT does not tolerate any form of scientific misconduct including (1) fabrication (creating false data), (2) falsification (manipulation of data), (3) plagiarism (copying ideas, statements, results, etc. from other author/s without acknowledging the author/s and the source), (4) self-plagiarism (multiple identical publications with major overlap in ideas, data, inferences, etc.), and (5) duplicate or multiple submissions of the same manuscript to other journals while in consideration at JoTT. Any form of scientific misconduct is unacceptable and JoTT reserves the right to expose such work with appropriate level of penalty suitable for the given situation. Note that scientific misconduct does not include honest errors, errors in judgment, difference of opinion or misconduct unrelated to the publication being criticized.
In the instance of suspected scientific misconduct, JoTT will follow the protocol given below.
1. Any case of suspected misconduct, the Chief Editor and Associate/Subject Editors will investigate objectively and JoTT will take appropriate actions suitable for the crime.
2. If a submitted manuscript is found to be guilty of any form of scientific misconduct during the reviewing or editing process, JoTT will not only reject the manuscript but the respective head of the institution of all the authors and the funding agency(s) will be informed about the misconduct. If in doubt of fabrication or falsification, JoTT can ask for raw data, analysis, photographs, genomic sequences, gel pictures, etc. used by the authors.
3. If the authors of a published paper are accused of any form of scientific misconduct, JoTT will take appropriate actions in the following order. (1) The subject editor and/or referees of the paper will be asked to comment on any evidence of scientific misconduct. (2) If the investigation suspects misconduct a response will be asked from the authors along with raw data, analysis, photographs, trace files of genomic sequences, gel pictures, etc., if applicable. (3) If the response from authors is satisfactory revealing a mistake or misunderstanding, the matter will be resolved. If not, JoTT will withdraw the paper from the online version and appropriate announcements will be placed in upcoming issue. (4) JoTT will also inform the respective heads of the institutions of all the authors and the funding agency(s) about the misconduct. JoTT expects reviewers/subject editors of manuscripts to keep the ideas or data of the authors confidential and they should not steal author's ideas, plagiarize author's work or make a decision to reject because of conflict of interest. Authors have a right to make an appeal to the Chief Editor if they have substantial grounds to believe that such malpractice has occurred regarding their manuscript. If such allegations are proved correct they will be treated seriously and appropriate actions will be taken. Complaints regarding authorship problems where individuals have been inappropriately excluded, or included without their knowledge, as well as accusations of guest, ghost, or gift authorship will be treated seriously by JoTT and appropriate announcements will be placed in the upcoming issue. JoTT may also inform the respective heads of the institutions of all the authors and the funding agency(s) about the misconduct.
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Dahanukar, N. & S. Molur (2012). Scientific conduct and misconduct: honesty is still the best policy. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(9): 2845–2848.
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JoTT Policy against Predatory Journals
In the recent mushrooming of predatory journals around the world, JoTT has taken a stand against encouraging citations from these journals. For the time being, Beall's Lists on predatory publishers and stand-alone journals are used as standard reference for determining predatory journals. In this regard, a recent Editorial in JoTT highlighted the steps taken by JoTT, which are also listed below for authors to take cognizance while preparing manuscripts.
(1) JoTT discourages citation of work published in journals from any of the known predatory publishers or stand-alone predatory/deceptive journals. Authors must refer to the list of publishers and list of stand-alone journals at www.scholarlyoa.com (Beall 2015a).
(2) JoTT discourages citation of work from journals that are not yet listed in Beall (2015a) but fulfill the criteria set by Beall (2015b).
(3) If the author must cite the work published in a predatory journal, as it is important in the study, they should cite it in the text as "published in a predatory journal" (since JoTT does not trust that such work was published following scientific procedure of peer review). For instance, ........ was suggested by Author et al. (published in a predatory journal) or ..... was suggested (Author et al., published in a predatory journal).
(4) Although JoTT does not consider work published in predatory journals as scientifically valid, authors are advised not to reproduce the content of such work as a whole or in part in JoTT as all such frauds will be considered scientific misconducts of the form plagiarism. Such accusations will be objectively analyzed and penalized appropriately as stated in an earlier JoTT Editorial on policy (Dahanukar & Molur 2012).
(5) JoTT understands the limitations of the present listing of predatory publications by Beall (2015a) as applied to only open-access journals, and will include predatory/deceptive subscription or toll-access journals as identified by other systematic and authentic evaluators.
Beall, J. (2012). Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature 489: 179. https://doi.org/10.1038/489179a
Beall, J. (2015a). https://scholarlyoa.com. Accessed on 18 August 2015.
Beall, J. (2015b). Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers. 3rd Edition. https://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/criteria-2015.pdf. Accessed on 19 August 2015.
Bartholomew, R.E. (2014). Science for sale: the rise of predatory journals. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 107: 384–385. https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076814548526
Bohanon, J. (2013). Who’s afraid of peer review? Science 342: 60–65. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.342.6154.60
Butler, D. (2013). The dark side of publishing. Nature 495: 433–435. https://doi.org/10.1038/495433a
Caplan, A.L. (2015). The problem of publication-pollution denialism. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 90: 565–566. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.02.017
Clark, J. (2015). How to avoid predatory journals - a five point plan. https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2015/01/19/jocalyn-clark-how-to-avoid-predatory-journals-a-five-point-plan/. Accessed 05 June 2015.
Clark, J. & R. Smith (2015). Firm action needed on predatory journals. The British Medical Journal 350: h210. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h210
Dahanukar, N. & S. Molur (2012). Scientific conduct and misconduct: honesty is still the best policy. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(9): 2845–2848. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.04092012.2845-8
Foster, K.R. & K.L. Chopra (2012). Journals of plagiarism. Current Science 103: 1258–1259
Kearney, M.H. & The Inane Predatory Publishing Practices Collaborative (2015). Predatory publishing: what authors need to know. Research in Nursing and Health 38: 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1002/nur.21640
Lakhotia, S.C. (2015). Predatory journals and academic pollution. Current Science 108(8): 1407–1408.
Raghavan, R., N. Dahanukar, J.D.M. Knight, A. Bijukumar, U. Katwate, K. Krishnakumar, A. Ali & S. Philip (2014). Predatory journals and Indian ichthyology. Current Science 107: 740–742.
Raghavan, R., N. Dahanukar & S. Molur (2015). Curbing academic predators: JoTT’s policy regarding citation of publications from predatory journals. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(10): 7609–7611. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o4388.7609-11
Raghavan, R., N. Dahanukar & S. Molur (2015). Practicality versus idealism for curbing predatory publishing: a reply to Teixeira da Silva. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(15): 8307–8308. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2418.104.22.16807-8308
Raghavan, R., S. Philip, N. Dahanukar & A. Ali (2013). Freshwater fish biodiversity of India: a response to Sarkar et al. (2013). Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 23: 547–554. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-013-9315-9
Raju, N.V. (2013). How does UGC identify predatory journals? Current Science 104(11): 1461–1462.
Silas, E.G. (2003). History and development of fisheries research in India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 100(2&3): 502–520.
Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & K.E. Carpenter (2015). Book review: The carangids of India - a monograph. Fish and Fisheries 16: 543–546. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12099
Xia, J., J.L. Harmon, K.G. Connolly, R.M. Donnelly, M.R. Anderson & H.A. Howard (2015). Who publishes in predatory journals? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 66(7): 1406–1417. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23265